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Listening into the Distance

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Item Summary

Title:Listening into the Distance
Authors:Chinn, Mei Lin
Date Issued:May 2015
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
Abstract:While it is easy to find music meaningful, this rather commonplace experience is difficult to think about philosophically and our actual experience of music seems counter to many explanations. This dissertation is guided by the perennial question of how music, as a non-semantic and nonrepresentational art, is meaningful. At once, music feels meaningful yet lacks objectifable meaning. I approach the liminal, yet striking case of musical meaning through challenging certain assumptions about sense and the distance between sensing as perception and sense as meaning. I rely on the resources of Chinese philosophy, a deeply aesthetic tradition that never adopted the assumptions in question, in particular that of an essential gap between body and world. Drawing on ideas about music and the senses in Chinese philosophy, as well as contemporary approaches to perception, I examine three central features of listening in depth: intimacy, skill, and receptivity. These features of listening are brought together with an account of musical spacetime, in order to argue that listening to music is a unified activity of direct, meaningful sensing. From this conclusion, the possibility that listening to music is a kind of thinking is explored, along with the distinct implication that music is a philosophical practice. Finally, while the influence of music on classical Chinese thought has been acknowledged, there is almost no literature that examines Chinese philosophy of music in depth. By attending to the specifically philosophical importance of music, novel understandings of the tradition are revealed, as is the eminence of aesthetics in Chinese philosophy.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Philosophy

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